(New York, NY - WNYC) It's a non-leading economic indicator: when the economy slides and unemployment rises, traffic in New York City declines. So make what you will of the fact that, after three years of slow but steady growth, car traffic volumes are just about back to their pre-recession level. That's according to the Sustainable Streets Index, a grab bag of traffic and transit data published annually by the New York City Department of Transportation.
The report also finds that drivers have many more bicyclists with whom they're sharing the road. Department data show bicycle commuting in New York was up 13% from 2009 to 2010, and 7% in 2011.Those numbers continue the trend of large annual jumps over the last ten years, as the city added 255 miles of bike lanes and other bike and pedestrian-friendly amenities like protected islands in the middle of wide boulevards.
Other tidbits: 10 percent of New York City residents primarily commute to work by walking, highest among the ten largest U.S. cities. Commuter cycling rose 289 percent from 2000 to 2011. The month with the most slow driving days in Manhattan is November, prime holiday shopping season.
For more transpo wonkery, including before and after photos of troublesome intersections made over with traffic calming measures, go here.